“Without Discipline, There Is No Progress”
Vol: 36 Issue: 19 Sunday, September 19, 2004
Russian President Vladimir Putin is using the recent attack on a school in Belsan as a springboard from which he can consolidate his hold on power in Russia in a way not seen since the dying days of the Soviet Union.
More than four hundred and thirty Russians have been killed in terrorist attacks since the middle of August.
Even as the dead were being buried in Beslan, Putin called for sweeping changes in Russia’s electoral system, demanding the right to appoint the governors of Russia’s 89 federal regions, now elected directly by voters.
Putin would also abolish direct election for representatives to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament already controlled by parties loyal to the Kremlin.
In a Sept. 4 address to the nation, Putin said his government “failed to react appropriately” to the challenges of terrorism and social division. “We displayed weakness, and the weak are beaten,” he said.
The US administration is trying to soft-pedal its response to Putin’s announcement that Russia was adopting a policy of preemptive strikes, since the United States has already done the same thing.
Secretary of State Powell, in an interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times last week, said, “We understand the need to go after these kinds of murderers and terrorists.”
But, he added, “at the same time, we felt it was important to say to our Russian friends — not as anything but a friend — that as you deal with this kind of terrorist threat, you have to be careful that you don’t do it in a way that starts to undercut democratic institutions.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the death of the Soviet Union and the chaotic birth of the Russian Federation, criticized Putin’s recent moves in a commentary in a Moscow newspaper last week.
“Under the slogan of the war on terrorism, it is being proposed to sharply limit democratic freedoms, to deprive citizens of the opportunity to directly express their attitude toward the government in free elections,” he wrote.
Last week, the Russian Finance Ministry announced a major boost in funding for the government’s security and border-control agencies. Many of Putin’s top aides and political allies are drawn from the so-called “siloviki,” officials from Russia’s various security and intelligence agencies.
Putin’s harshest critics concede he enjoys a base of popular support that no other Russian politician can match. He cruised to a second four-year term in March with more than 70 percent of the vote.
Many Russians say the plain-speaking, low-key president is a welcome change from the hectic 1990s under Boris Yeltsin, when Russia’s economy was in a shambles and the country was still adjusting to the sudden loss of its superpower standing in the world.
Nikolai Belyaev, chief administrator for the central Russian town of Lebedyan, explained Putin’s uniquely Russian perspective on leadership, saying;
“Personally, I like having a strong personality in a leader, because discipline is a very important part of life. Without discipline, there is no progress.”
When he first came on the scene as prime minister in August, 1999, Western analysts and diplomats asked the question, “Who is Vladimir Putin?”
By Dec. 31, 1999 — three months in advance of elections, Boris Yeltsin resigned and Vladimir Putin assumed Russia’s top job.
The first and only warning the West had of what was soon to come was the incident at the Pristina Airport during the NATO war when Russian troops seized the airport, disobeying direct orders to the contrary issued by Boris Yeltsin himself.
Instead of backing down, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin offered Yeltsin a signed agreement protecting him from prosecution on corruption charges and guaranteed him a comfortable retirement.
The silent coup d’etat went off without a hitch.
That Putin was the man of the hour was apparent with the ease with which he restored discipline. Boris Yeltsin’s power began slipping away from him then, and by the end of the year it was all gone. The only thing left to do was cut the best deal he could and get out of Dodge.
Ezekiel 38 through 39 tells of a future invasion of Israel by a vast coalition of nations that surround it. As we read the headlines in the newspapers of today, and witness the conflict in the Middle East, it’s not hard to imagine that this invasion prophesied over 2600 years ago, could be fulfilled in our lifetime.
Ezekiel 36-37 predicts a gathering of the Jews to the nation of Israel, which will be followed by this massive invasion. For 19 centuries the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world, and until May 14, 1948 there was no nation of Israel to invade.
With the nation of Israel now a reality, the stage seems set.
The Russian bear continues its slide back into totalitarianism. Although the Beslan tragedy was perpetrated by Islamic Chechen rebels, it isn’t Islam that Russia has a problem with, it’s Chechnya.
Russia has more than 20 million Islamic citizens and there are a half-dozen Islamic majority states within the greater Russian Federation. So the fact that Chechnya’s rebels are majority Islamic is inconsequential, except as an excuse to crack down on the Chechens by hiding behind the global war on terror.
Russia continues to be the patron saint of the Islamic republic of Iran. It is heavily involved with the Islamic government in Sudan. The entire Arab Middle East is armed with Russian weapons, populated by Russian support technicians, and advised by Russian advisors.
There are those who believe the Russian crackdown on Islamic terror will eventually result in an anti-terror alliance that will include Washington, Jerusalem and Moscow. The Bible says differently.
Ezekiel says that Russia will eventually lead a vast Islamic alliance against Israel. Verse 13 indicates Russia’s invasion will take the West, including Saudi Arabia, (Sheba and Dedan) by surprise.
Tarshish is most commonly agreed to be ancient Tartessus or the area of present day Spain in Western Europe. In Ezekiel’s day, Tarshish was in the farthest west regions of the known world.
By referring to Tarshish and all her merchants, Ezekiel may be indicating that Western Europe will join with Saudi Arabia in denouncing the invasion. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia is the only Arab nation to consistently side with the West against radical Islamic elements around the world.
The royals of Saudi Arabia mostly side with the West out of an interest in self preservation, and at times oppose us behind the scenes, but they would most probably put on a show of opposition to radical Islam in order to maintain the support of western governments.
It isn’t that far-fetched. A similar alliance existed during the first Gulf War. The U.S., Western Europe, and Saudi Arabia were allied against Iraq, while Russia, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and most other Middle East nations either aligned with Iraq, or against the U.S. either by directly opposing it, or by remaining neutral.
As Russia cracks down on ‘Islamic terror’ — note its targets well. It isn’t the evils of Islam that disturb the Kremlin. It is the Chechen effort to break away (together with its massive oil wealth) from the Russian Federation that will feel the weight of the Kremlin’s heel, not the Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan or Iran or secular Islamic states like Syria, Jordan or Egypt.
The Iranians, Paks, Syrians and the rest all know Russia’s war is against Chechen independence, and not Islam. There is an old saying in the Middle East to the effect that, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ When Russia does invade Israel, it will have plenty of Arab allies.
The first reason God gives for the invasion in Ezekiel 38 is a desire by the coalition to cover the Jewish land and wipe them off the face of the earth. Urged on by a hatred of the Jewish people they will seek to destroy them and the nation of Israel.
This is the stated goal today of almost every Islamic nation in the Middle East. The only Islamic nations not currently in a declared state of war with Israel are Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan, yet they would certainly be glad to see Israel eliminated if presented with a willing leader and an opportunity to rid the Middle East of Islam’s archenemy.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
Tick. . . Tick . . . Tick . . .